MISCARRIAGES OF JUSTICE

SHE Level 4
SCQF Credit Points 20.00
ECTS Credit Points 10.00
Module Code MHM225681
Module Leader Andrew Tickell
School Glasgow School for Business and Society
Subject Law
Trimesters
  • A (September start)
  • B (January start)

Pre-Requisite Knowledge

Students taking this module will normally have undertaken the level 3 module Evidence and Justice, Criminal Law and Evidence, or an equivalent underpinning module in the rules and principles of the law of criminal evidence.

Summary of Content

In appeal court hearings and in newspapers, on Netflix and in popular dramas, miscarriages of justice increasingly grip public attention. This module considers the main causes and consequences of miscarriages of justice, broadly defined. Students taking this module will normally have studied Evidence and Justice at level 3 on the BA Social Science programme and Criminal Law and Evidence in the LLB programme. This level 4 module builds on this learning to develop students' understanding of the nature, extent, causes, and consequences of miscarriages of justice in the UK, Scotland and internationally.

Syllabus

With reference to historical and contemporary examples, and comparative Scottish, UK and international case studies, this module critically examines the contribution of a range of criminal justice actors to the generating, perpetuating, detecting and correcting miscarriages of justice, including: -360 Accused persons; Eyewitnesses; Expert witnesses, including forensic scientists and fingerprint analysts; Police investigators; Lawyers, including prosecutors and defence agents; Juries; Judges, including appellate tribunals; Politicians; Journalists and media, including film-makers, citizen journalists and bloggers; Campaigners and grassroots miscarriage of justice organisations; and Formal miscarriage of justice investigation bodies, including the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission. This module will also consider potential civil remedies for miscarriages of justice, including legal responses - and failures to respond to - institutionalised child sexual abuse, large scale accidents and disasters, including corporate homicide and mass medical negligence, including contemporary and historical examples such as the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry and legal responses to the Hillsborough Disaster, Grenfell Tower, and the thalidomide and contaminated blood scandals. While it is envisaged this will be a dynamic module, responding to and analysing ongoing developments in the theme of miscarriage of justice both nationally and internationally, specific topics and themes which may be considered in any given year include: -360 Conceptualising miscarriage of justice; The uses and abuses of forensic technology and the opportunities and risks associated with national databases; Police malpractice and misconduct in the detection, investigation and prosecution of crime; The impact of racism and inequality in generating and perpetuating miscarriages of justice; Cold cases and the impact of double jeopardy rules' The role of plea bargaining and similar practices; Forms of redress for the wrongly convicted and post-acquittal experiences of victims of miscarriages of justice; Forms of legal clemency and mercy, including retrospective pardons.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:1. Evaluate and critically analyse the national and international data on the leading causes of miscarriages of justice, broadly defined.2. Identify and synthesise the legal, political and philosophical issues arising from miscarriages of justice.3. Appraise and synthesise legal concepts and materials so as to construct persuasive arguments using recognised legal and social sources in justifying their application to a given set of facts.4. Communicate confidently with legal experts on a range of miscarriage of justice-related matters.5. Identify and retrieve up to date legal information using paper and electronic repositories.6. Use primary and secondary legal sources which are relevant to the topic under study and current at the point of assessment. 7. Present knowledge and information using sources to support arguments and conclusions. 8. Provide recognised methods of citation and reference.9. Identify accurately and formulate clearly the legal issues to be researched.10. Undertake independent research (both paper-based and electronic) in areas of law which have not been previously studied, using paper and electronic repositories to research new topics without reference to a reading list.

Teaching / Learning Strategy

This module will be delivered via a combination of lectures, seminars, and directed learning. Students will attend one lecture and one two-hour seminar every week. Lectures will commence in week one, seminars will commence in week two. Lectures will introduce the key theme, social actor or forensic method implicated in the generation, detection and correction of particular types of miscarriage of justice - while seminars will generally be structured around case studies of national and international examples of how these have playing out in practice, in Scottish and international court proceedings. The teaching strategy for this module will also make use of a range of cultural artefacts, including film and documentaries, and may include contributions by guest speakers working in the field of miscarriages of justice. Students will be expected to consider prescribed cases and selected secondary literature prior to seminars and seminars, so as to be able to discuss the facts of particular cases, the wider issues raised, and to reflect on the implications of these general ideas for their particular miscarriage of justice case study. This module will be assessed by two pieces of coursework. The first piece of coursework (CW1) will involve a national miscarriage of justice case study to be allocated to the class. The second (CW2) is an individual case study of a selected national or international miscarriage of justice, to be agreed between the student and the module leader. Individual presentations on the miscarriage of justice case studies for CW2 will form the basis of the final seminar in this module. These will not, however, be formally assessed.

Indicative Reading

This module will consider a wide range of international literature on how the notion of a miscarriage of justice ought to be conceptualised, including selections from: -360 C J Ogletree and A Sarat (eds) (2009) When Law Fails: Making Sense of Miscarriages of Justice (New York, NYU Press) R Nobles and D Schiff (2000) Understanding Miscarriages of Justice: Law, the Media, and the Inevitability of Crisis (Oxford, OUP) The principal focus of this module, however, will be case studies of leading criminal cases involving confirmed and alleged miscarriages of justice, including Megrahi v HM Advocate 2002 JC 99 , Allison and Johnston v HM Advocate [2006] HCJAC 30, Wilson v HM Advocate [2009] HCJAC 58, Gilmour v HM Advocate [2007] HCJAC 48, McPhee v HM Advocate [2009] HCJAC 54, HM Advocate v Shirley McKee and other historical and contemporary examples of miscarriages of justice. A key source of domestic data will be the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission's archive of referrals and judgments of the Appeal Court, accessible here: <http://www.sccrc.co.uk/conviction> . Examples of England and Wales will be drawn principally from the records of the Criminal Cases Review Commission ( <https://ccrc.gov.uk> ), and will include reference to R v McIlkenny, Hunter, Walker, Callaghan, Hill and Power [1991], R v Kiszko [1992] , R v Blackburn [1978], R v Hodgson [1979], R v Barry George [2000] , and the cases of R v Clark, Anthony and Cannings. For the individual case study element of coursework assessment, students will be able to choose their own miscarriage of justice case, contextualising the circumstances of a given case in the context of the wider themes, analysis and literature.

Transferrable Skills

Analysis, Synthesis, Critical Judgement and Evaluation The ability to identify issues, assimilate, evaluate and analyse information to construct written or oral solutions to a problem by bringing together and integrating relevant information, and selecting key material, from a variety of different sources. The ability to present arguments for and against propositions, acknowledging ranking of sources and relative impact in context. Such skills are developed within this module through the following activities: -360 Preparing for and participating in lectures and seminars Preparing for and delivering group and individual responses in lectures and seminars Preparing for and delivering individual case study of miscarriage of justice case Personal Management, Independence and Ability to Learn The ability to organise and prioritise effectively the expenditure of time and effort in the performance of all aspects of student work. The ability to learn effectively and be aware of their own learning strategies; to manage their own learning development and to reflect upon their learning, seeking and making use of feedback. Such skills are developed within this module through the following activities: -360 Preparing the report and individual case study of a miscarriage of justice case Consolidating material delivered at lectures and seminars and connecting them to individual case study Supplementing delivered material with additional reading Reflecting on lecture, handout and self-searched material Preparing for and participating in group meetings and other group activities Preparing for and participating in lectures and seminars Preparing for and delivering report and individual case study Communication and Literacy The ability to communicate information, ideas, advice and choices in an effective and succinct manner and in plain English without losing focus on key issues. The ability to listen and question effectively, to give and receive feedback and to make presentations addressing an allocated topic within the prescribed time frame. The ability to communicate both orally and in writing (and, where appropriate, by the use of electronic means) using the English language accurately by creating work which is comprehensible to the intended audience. The ability to create documents which are analytical, descriptive and inquisitive using appropriate terminology and recognised methods of citation and reference. Such skills are developed within this module through the following activities: -360 Consolidating material delivered at lectures and seminars Supplementing delivered material with additional reading Reflecting on lecture, handout and self-searched material Preparing for and participating in group meetings and other group activities Preparing for and delivering individual presentations Preparing for and delivering report and individual critical miscarriage of justice case study Reflecting on feedback from individual presentations, coursework and case studies Numeracy, Information, Technology and Teamwork Where relevant and as the basis for an argument, the ability to present and evaluate information provided in numerical or statistical form. The ability to produce and present in an appropriate form a word-processed essay or other appropriate format. The ability to conduct efficient searches of websites to locate relevant information; and exchange documents by email. The ability to work productively and cooperatively in different kinds of groups; to establish working relations with others, defining, sharing and delegating responsibilities within the group. Such skills are developed within this module through the following activities: -360 Consolidating material delivered at lectures and seminars Supplementing delivered material with additional reading Preparing for and participating in group meetings and other group activities Preparing for and delivering individual presentations Preparing for and delivering critical individual miscarriage of justice case study.

Module Structure

Activity Total Hours
Independent Learning (FT) 114.00
Lectures (FT) 12.00
Assessment (FT) 50.00
Seminars (FT) 24.00

Assessment Methods

Component Duration Weighting Threshold Description
Course Work 01 n/a 40.00 35% Report on national miscarriage of justice (1500 words).Exceptions Case 90
Course Work 02 n/a 60.00 35% Individual case study of selected national or international miscarriage of justice (2500 words).Exceptions Case 90